Digging in Sand, Tummy Problems Linked
Sunburn, jellyfish stings and the occasional scrape are what usually come to mind when you think of beach hazards. Now there's a new risk to the list: bacterial infection.
That's the finding of a new University of North Carolina Chapel Hill study, which found that playing in sand -- especially being buried in it -- significantly increased kids’ risk for diarrhea, vomiting, stomachaches and nausea. Researchers interviewed nearly 27,000 beachgoers at seven different beaches (both saltwater and fresh) from around the country, asking them about their shoreline activities. Two weeks later it turned out kids who played in sand were 20-24% more likely to have diarrhea than those who simply walked or swam by the shore.
The cause: Sand that gets into kids’ mouths may contain fecal matter (either from sewage run-off or animal contamination) which carries harmful bacteria. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to protect your child. Part one includes hygiene methods, like using hand sanitizer after playing in the sand. Part two includes strengthening your child's gastrointestinal immunity, by serving up bananas, asparagus, onions and artichokes. These contain prebiotic fiber, which selectively feed the protective bacteria that line the gut, so bad bugs can't get a foothold.